Protecting the Power Grid

Our electricity system is a fundamental component of our quality of life and our economy. It is one of 10 critical infrastructure sectors in North America.

The electricity sector is especially crucial because all the other critical infrastructure sectors depend on electricity. It is vital that we identify emerging threats and that we protect the security, reliability, and stability of the integrated North American power grid.

Providing stable and reliable power to Canadians

While Canada’s electricity system falls within provincial jurisdiction, at the federal level, Public Safety Canada helps to develop management tools and facilitate information sharing in support of strengthening and maintaining the security and reliability of the Canadian electricity system.

In the US, this role is shared by the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security. By participating in security forums at every level of government and on both sides of the border, CEA helps to ensure that the knowledge and expertise of Canadian electricity companies contributes to our shared security.

Protecting the North American grid

CEA strongly believes in the greater sharing of threat information among sectors and governments of Canada, the US, and Mexico is our first line of defence towards securing the integrity of our systems.

Valuable steps forward could include:

  • Increased funding and capacity for national computer emergency readiness teams
  • Development of integrated, cross-border incident response plans for cyber and physical security threats of national significance
  • Deployment of standardized, automated platforms for machine-to-machine information sharing
  • Robust government interface with the electricity sector’s official information sharing and analysis centre

National coordination and programming

CEA provides members with national coordination and programing to enhance protection of the power grid from physical and cyber threats, and for healthy and safe electricity workplaces.

Protection of physical assets

The protection of physical electricity assets and infrastructure is critical to ensuring a safe and reliable North American electricity system.

Copper theft from Canada’s electricity infrastructure is dangerous, expensive, and a threat to system reliability. CEA has been active on the issue since 2014, advocating for Criminal Code amendments that create sentencing options more proportional to the downstream impacts of copper theft.

Protection of cyber assets

Cyber-attacks on cyber electricity assets and infrastructure have grown exponentially, compounded by the recent increase in system automation and emerging grid technologies.

CEA is engaged in the current review by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness of existing measures that protect Canadians and our critical infrastructure from cyber threats.